You desire to know, my honoured papa, how Mr. B. passes his time, and whether it be in his lady’s chamber? No, indeed! Catch gentlemen, the best of them, in too great a complaisance that way, if you can. “What then, does he pass his time with you, Polly?” you are pleased to ask. What a disadvantage a man lies under, who has been once a rake! But I am so generally with Mrs. B. that when I tell you, Sir, his visits to her are much of the polite form, I believe I answer all you mean by your questions; and especially when I remind you, Sir, that Lord and Lady Davers, and the Earl and Countess of C. and your unworthy daughter, are at dinner and supper-time generally together; for Mrs. Andrews, who is not yet gone back to Kent, breakfasts, dines, and sups with her beloved daughter, and is hardly ever out of her room.
Then, Sir, Mr. B., the Earl, and Lord Davers, give pretty constant attendance to the business of parliament; and, now and-then, sup abroad—So, Sir, we are all upon honour; and I could wish (only that your facetiousness always gives me pleasure, as it is a token that you have your much-desired health and freedom of spirits), that even in jest, my mamma’s daughter might pass unquestioned.
But I know why you do it: it is only to put me out of heart to ask to stay longer. Yet I wish—But I know you won’t permit me to go through the whole winter here. Will my dear papa grant it, do you think, if you were to lay the highest obligation upon your dutiful daughter, and petition for me? And should you care to try? I dare not hope it myself: but when one sees a gentleman here, who denies his lady nothing, it makes one wish, methinks, that Lady Darnford, was as happy in that particular as Mrs. B.
Your indulgence for this one winter, or, rather this small remainder of it, I make not so much doubt of, you see, Madam. I know you’ll call me a bold girl; but then you always, when you do, condescend to grant my request: and I will be as good as ever I can be afterwards. I will fetch up all the lost time; rise an hour sooner in the morning, go to bed an hour later at night; flower my papa any thing he pleases; read him to sleep when he pleases; put his gout into good-humour, when it will be soothed—And Mrs. B., to crown all, will come down with me, by permission of her sovereign lord, who will attend her, you may be sure: and will not all this do, to procure me a month or two more?—If it won’t, why then, I will thank you for your past goodness to me, and with all duty and cheerfulness, bid adieu to this dear London, this dearer family, and tend a still dearer papa and mamma; whose dutiful daughter I will ever be, whilst
To the Same.
MY HONOURED PAPA AND MAMMA,
I have received your joint commands, and intend to set out on Wednesday, next week. I hope to find my papa in better health than at present, and in better humour too; for I am sorry he is displeased with my petitioning for a little longer time in London. It is very severe to impute to me want of duty and affection, which would, if deserved, make me most unworthy of your favour.